Jurgen Klopp could not help but marvel at the size and stature of Sepp van den Berg after meeting the new Liverpool signing for the first time. The teenage centre-half arrived from PEC Zwolle last month, despite Bayern Munich attempting to hijack the deal while the player was undergoing his medical. Liverpool’s head of recruitment Dave Fallows and chief scout Barry Hunter were instrumental in securing the services of the 17-year-old who came face-to-face with Klopp for the first time at Melwood on Friday. Van den Berg is listed as being 1.89m, some four centimetres shorter than his compatriot and Liverpool colossus Virgil van Dijk, but Klopp couldn’t help but admire the physical prowess of his newest recruit.
‘Sepp, nice to meet you. My god – tall,’ he said. ‘That’s impressive it’s different when you see only in images. It’s nice to have you here, how are you?’ ‘I’m good,’ responded the Dutchman. ‘I’m excited but a little bit nervous. Yesterday when I came from the airport already four people came to me so it’s crazy.’ Liverpool’s pre-season plans have been disrupted by the involvement of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino in international competition. That quartet will be afforded an extended summer break, while the likes of Jordan Henderson and Van Dijk, who participated in the Nations League finals, will be given further time to recuperate.